Thoughts on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead: Part 2

In part 1 of this series I wrote about the first part of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Having now finished part 2, I can write on it.

The following will contain spoilers. I highly recommend you do not continue if you wish to read The Fountainhead with fresh eyes.

The second part of The Fountainhead is devoted to Ellsworth M. Toohey, as the subtitle suggests. This further introduces a character we had met in part one, but gives us the chance to get to know him further.

Toohey is a sort of hybrid of Keating and Roark. Like Roark he seems to understand that one should strive after their own ideals, but like Keating tries to make the situation work in his best interests. This is most apparent when he speaks with Dominque and Catherine.

With the former he speaks bluntly and honestly, showing his greed and contempt for man. With the latter he shows his dual-nature, saying one thing while believing the opposite. Yet he holds contempt for those, like Stoddard, who have the basic idea in mind, but fail in their execution. Toohey appreciates those who can trick others into believing what they say, not what they mean, or using their words to say multiple things at once. Dominque's time at the witness stand, and earlier her article on Roark's building.

We also read exactly what's been going on in Dominque's mind this whole time, near the end of this part. It's hard to remember, but the beginning of this part involved the first meeting of Dominque and Roark, and their conquests over each other. If Rand had done it so for her other parts, Dominque's name could have appeared below Toohey's, as we learn so much more about her, making Ellsworth and Dominque the two main characters of this part (Keating and Roark being part one's).

While our feelings of Ellsworth may have been further cemented in place, Dominque has changed from one without a purpose, to an individual driven by one. In a way, a sort of change from Keating into Roark.

Along these same lines, the beginning of the part is not without it's share of Roark. While we (I) may not have liked either one, I now understand that Roark and Keating are not on two ends of a horizontal line, but rather two ends of a vertical one, Keating being at the bottom. Roark ends up with nothing, but has grown stronger, while Peter now has everything he wanted before, but fears it. See for example the outburst with Guy at the end, the same end that was driving him in part one.

Part three awaits.

Update 5/25/2009: Read part three of this series.